The United States is the second country in the world that produces the most greenhouse gases, which fundamentally contribute to global warming. Here are some figures that show how much the U.S. has responsibility for the phenomenon of climate change that scientists attribute to human activities.

27 percent of carbon dioxide since 1850

Although China is currently the country with the most tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere, over 160 years the United States has been the largest emitter. The burning of fossil fuels such as oil and its derivatives are the main generators of this gas.

Considering the period 1850-2011, the Center for Analysis of Information on Carbon Dioxide determined that the United States is responsible for 27 percent of the world's CO2 emissions. It is closely followed by the European Union, which includes industrialized countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, with 25 percent. China is in third place (11 percent), followed by Russia (eight percent), Japan (four percent) India (three percent), and Canada (two percent.).

16.39 tons of CO2 per person

Currently, China is the most polluting country, with 10.64 kilotonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, followed by the United States with 5.17, according to the Global Atmospheric Research Emissions Database.

However, the calculation per person reflects that our citizens are the ones who make the most emissions of this greenhouse gas. Each inhabitant of our country emitted 16,39 metric tons, that surpass the 13,53 of Canada, and 12,47 of Russia. The high population of China makes its per capita contribution of 7.55 metric tons, which puts it below countries like Holland, Belgium or Japan.

500 million tons of methane

Another of the gases that contribute most to the greenhouse effect is methane. It is mainly produced by human activities such as the extraction and processing of oil and gas, livestock breeding, food crops and the landfills. The 2012 figures from the EDGAR database show that the United States was among the five nations that emitted most metric (million) of methane in the world:

  • China: 1,752
  • India: 636
  • Russia: 545
  • United States: 499
  • Brazil: 477

NASA detected a "hot spot" located at an intersection of the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, which covers only about 6,500 square kilometers. Over 59 million metric tons of methane was emitted into the atmosphere because of leakage in the production of natural gas.